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Auditor Faber Issues a $19,752 Finding for Recovery against Former Perry Cook Memorial Library Treasurer
Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber’s office today released the 2017-2018 audit of the Perry Cook Memorial Library (Morrow County). The audit issued a finding for recovery against the library’s former treasurer, Jeffery Wise, who was found guilty stealing $19,752 during his tenure.
“Libraries are so important to our communities – to think that someone was stealing their funds is really shameful,” Auditor Faber said. “Going forward, I’m sure library officials will implement strict internal controls around their finances as they learn from this abuse.”
While treasurer, Wise was responsible for maintaining the financial records for the library, paying the bills and employee payroll, maintaining the library’s checkbook, and submitting financial reports to the Library Board. He was treasurer for approximately 18 years until resigning in September 2018.
In September 2018, the bank responsible for the library’s account alerted the library of unusual activity related to Wise’s personal bank account and checks payable to Wise from the Perry Cook Memorial Library. Upon further investigation by the Auditor’s Special Investigations Unit, it was discovered that between January 2015 and September 2018, 129 checks totaling $52,101 were payable to Wise from the Library’s account. Of this amount, the Auditor’s office determined 65 checks totaling $19,752 lacked supporting documentation to prove they were issued for a proper public purpose.
On October 8, 2019, Morrow County Common Pleas Court indicted Wise through a Bill of Information on one count of Theft in Office, a felony of the third degree.
On November 4, 2019, Wise entered a guilty plea to the charges before a visiting judge, the Honorable Roger B. Wilson.
On December 30, 2019, Judge Wilson sentenced Wise to 30 days in the Morrow County Jail, five years of community control once released from jail, and entered an Order of Restitution for $19,752 against Wise. In accordance with that Order of Restitution, Auditor Faber issued a finding for recovery against Wise for $19,752 in favor of the Perry Cook Memorial Library.
On February 4, 2020, the Morrow County Clerk of Court issued a restitution payment to the library. Therefore, the Auditor’s office considers this finding fully repaid under audit.
A full copy of this audit report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.